Kenya athlete Nicholas Bett, the 2015 world 400m hurdles champion, was killed on Wednesday in a car crash near his home in western Kenya, police said.
While Kenya topped the table in last week’s 21st African Athletics Championships in Asaba, Bett was forced to pull out of his race due to injury.
The Local Organising Committee for Asaba 2018 lamented Bett’s passing.
“The accident occurred when his vehicle hit a bump and rolled and he died on the spot,” Nandi county police commander Patrick Wambani said from the scene of the crash.
The 28-year-old Bett, the father of two-year-old twins, made his name at the World Athletics Championships in Beijing where he surprised the field by taking gold. He had struggled to replicate that form.
Bett, whose twin brother Aron Koech is also an international 400m hurdler, was disqualified in his heat at the 2016 Rio Olympics after hitting a hurdle and was unable to defend his world title in London in 2017 due to injury.
In a statement by Olukayode Thomas, Head Media and Publicity for Asaba 2018, the LOC Chairman, Solomon Ogba, said the sudden demise of Bett was a big blow not just to Kenya but to the rest of Africa.
“We were deeply touched when we heard the news of Bett’s death on Wednesday,” Ogba said.
“Coming at a time when the athletics family in Kenya are still celebrating their heroic performance in Asaba, it is painful that the former world champion is no longer around to savor this magic moment with the rest of his colleagues.”
While Ogba is condoling with the athletics family in Africa, he advised that the legacies of Bett must be sustained and the former world champion must be immortalized.
“He was a great son of Kenya and Africa, so I expect that his legacies must be well protected, I pray for his family and his loved ones to have the strength to bear this irreparable loss,” the former Athletics Federation of Nigeria boss added.